picture by: Eric Ayres
WHEELING – Members of the general public were treated to a West Virginia party on Monday, when the McLure House Hotel held an open house to showcase improvements made so far in the ongoing renovation project at the hotel. interior of Wheeling downtown landmark.
First opened in 1852, the McLure House was already an established pre-Civil War hotel that had been operating for more than a decade when West Virginia became the 35th state on June 20, 1863. Over the decades, the hotel has undergone several major renovations, and last year the facility began a new chapter in its history when Roxby Development purchased the property and immediately launched a series of upgrades.
“It’s still pretty early in the process,” said hotel manager Chris Fischer during one of the hotel’s tours on Monday. “Roxby bought the property in July last year, so we haven’t even been there a year yet, but we’ve made a lot of progress that year refreshing the space.”
Just as Roxby took possession of the downtown landmark, a noticeable shift unfolded in the public eye. The exterior facades facing the street have been painted white, giving the whole block a new touch of brightness. This concept has since been carried over throughout the interior of the hotel.
picture by: Eric Ayres
“The lobby is very different because we’ve improved it significantly,” Fischer said. “Before, it was yellow and dark. Now it’s much brighter. Rooms should also be brighter this way. We did a general floor-by-floor update of the rooms with paint and new light fixtures and things like that. The biggest renovations will take place next year with things like bathroom updates and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) upgrades.
Improvements made during the first phase of renovations to the McLure House involve a basic refresh of the spaces open to the public, as well as the bedrooms.
Along with the new exterior look, visitors familiar with the McLure House notice a more welcoming lobby as soon as they walk through the doors.
“Especially people who have been here before, they have already been impressed with what we have done in the lobby,” Fischer said, noting that the huge, color-changing chandelier that surrounds the spiral staircase leading from the lobby to the second floor has been cleaned up and brought back to its original glory.
Artwork in the lobby and throughout the updated spaces has also breathed new life into the hotel, which until last summer hadn’t seen significant updates to its decor in decades. Local artists Bob Dombrowski and Susan Hogan led the artistic refresh of the facility, lending their talents to updated spaces throughout the property.
Fischer said the improvements over the past 12 months have been mostly cosmetic in nature — with fresh paint, new light fixtures, updated art, new lamp shades and other improvements that aren’t necessarily all “new”, but which are new to the hotel.
“We try to reuse as much as possible,” Fischer said. “It’s very exciting. This is the first project of its kind for me – a complete rehabilitation of a hotel.
Fischer noted that he moved to Wheeling after living in Los Angeles and more recently in Detroit before Roxby took him on to manage the McLure House. He said he was pleasantly surprised there were so many events, festivals and things to do in the friendly city.
“There’s been a trend lately of moving away from more expensive metropolitan centers across the country and towards smaller towns where exciting things are happening,” Fischer said. “Hopefully some of the energy here helps spread around downtown and other people can join Wheeling in giving Wheeling some really cool downtown streets. I think if you can build attractive spaces for people to hang out in, that will be a win for any type of small municipality.
picture by: Eric Ayres
The hotel has also taken the initiative to attract people to the establishment with fun activities. The McLure House ballroom – also accented with white walls – has been busy with events and gatherings, and even an indoor music festival with WinterBlues Weekend. The McLure House Bar & Grill has been invigorated with a full range of events and live music on a regular basis. New spaces are also opening up as renovations continue.
The Upper Ohio Valley Italian Festival headquarters, inside a space on the ground floor of the building facing Market Street, will move to a different location after this year’s event, a Fischer said. Spaces will continue to be repurposed and refurbished as the various phases of the rehabilitation progress.
Renovations are underway, and the dozens of visitors who took tours of the hotel on Monday got to see unfinished rooms on the building’s third floor (which has been designated as the pet-friendly floor) and then see the noticeable difference in upper floor rooms which have undergone “standard” upgrades, as well as “premium” renovations in “prototype” rooms which are expected to take place in about a dozen rooms.
Fischer said millions of dollars are being invested in the renovations. Eventually, the unfinished rooftop supper club — surrounded by walls of glass and offering spectacular views of the river and city — is slated to open on the eighth floor.
But before this long-term project comes to fruition, updates will be made to a first-level conference room, there will be updates to the bar, and the walls are expected to be removed to create a larger lobby with a smaller registry office. .
Roxby officials noted that bringing vibrancy back to the McLure House is an important piece of the puzzle that helps bring vibrancy back to downtown Wheeling – providing a space where guests want to stay and visit, and come back to visit. ‘coming .